News & Media

ROADwhyz at Lakes Entrance

It was a dark and stormy night.

Perhaps not as dramatic as that, but it was cold and wet.

Story and photos by Ian Ashcroft

This inconvenient fact did not deter nearly 200 family members, learners, probationary and new drivers from coming along to ROADwhyz, a driver safety awareness session held at the Lakes Entrance Secondary College.

Maybe it was the free BBQ beforehand, but everyone stayed on for an intensive and hard hitting evening aimed at raising awareness of the devastating effects of accidents on our roads.

Young drivers are overrepresented in the road crash statistics.The ROADwhyz program brings home the consequences of the choices they might make behind the wheel.

The night began with a “bang” caused by a head on collision in the staff car park. Teachers leaving in a hurry on a Friday afternoon?

Fortunately the Lakes Entrance road rescue team, Ambulance Victoria and the police were quickly on scene to help the driver who was injured and trapped in his vehicle.

People watched the team working to assess the situation, provide emergency care to the patient, use the “jaws of life” to gain access, remove the patient and send him off to hospital in the waiting ambulance.

It was all done quickly. Emergency services try to work within the “golden hour”, 20 minutes to the scene, 20 minutes to extract the patient and then 20 minutes to the hospital.

Not a realistic aim considering the distances in East Gippsland! Sometimes it takes an hour just to get to the job.

The rest of the evening brought home the reality of road accidents.

The Roadwhyz team covered a lot of material. The inescapable physics of what happens in the split second of a car crash. Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion have not been revoked! The resulting injury and trauma. What really happens in the hospital emergency ward. How one second of distraction can result in a lifetime of suffering for the unfortunate victim, their family and friends.

The audience heard some very personal and tragic stories from people who have lost loved ones.

A local parent shared her experience of losing her son in a senseless accident. Eight hundred people came to his funeral. Just one split second error and the effects rippled out across the whole community.

The messages were hard-hitting and told it “like it is”.

Some people found this confronting and distressing. But if the experience and information helps prevent avoidable tragedy and loss of life it has been valuable.

There was great support from all the emergency services, the Lakes Entrance Secondary College, local community groups and local businesses. Too many to mention individually but they all got behind the program 100%.

The ROADwhyz team deserve special thanks for their enthusiasm, dedication and professional approach.

We plan to do it all again in three years' time.

Last Updated: 05 October 2015